It's Girl Scout Cookie season, and many young entrepreneurs in green and brown are racking up badges as they hawk Thin Mints and Samoas in their neighborhoods and schools. While many Girl Scouts are very competitive young businesswomen, this is hardly the market that would immediately come to mind when most people think about business litigation.
But for one Fort Collins man last spring, one $42 Girl Scout cookie purchase quickly turned into a lot of dough when a collection agency notified him that his check had bounced. While he received a collection notice for $82 last summer, the man contacted his local Girl Scout troop to find out why his check was rejected. They directed him to an office in Denver, where he was informed that his account had been marked closed.
The man explained that this was incorrect, and even had his bank manager provide a letter confirming that his account was still open. In addition, the collection agency sued him for $739.75, most of which comprised attorney fees, court and principal costs. He then had to pay $100 to file a legal response, just to avoid losing the judgment by default. The collection agency declined to comment on this case, and the Girl Scouts of America would only comment on their general policies about bounced checks. However, the man claims that he was never even notified about the bounced check until the collection agency contacted him months later.
Although he was asked to settle his debt with the agency, he refused, since the debt was allegedly due to a bank processing error that he had not even been notified about properly. He claims he will most likely need to hire an attorney, and has filed a complaint with Colorado's attorney general's office. Sometimes a simple consumer dispute like this can get way out of hand, or an equally persistent business dispute with a vendor, partner or competitor can escalate to the point that the intervention of a Fort Collins business attorney is needed to help protect one's legal rights.
However, the disgruntled cookie connoisseur didn't let his legal woes stop his continuing support for the girl-empowering organization. His own daughter recently became a Girl Scout, and he reports that he likes the organization and their tasty treats. This year, however, he notes that he will be paying strictly in cash.
Source: ABC News, "Colo. Man to Go to Trial in May Over $42 Girl Scout Cookie Purchase" Susanna Kim, Mar. 06, 2014